Patent number 8559919 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The embodiments described herein relate to a dynamic community-based system which integrates network-enabled applications, or network-enabled applications with an automated distribution and billing platform in an environment which supports micro-transactions for mobile phone users, and more particularly to such a system that allows one-time opt-in for the network-enabled applications.
"While credit card use and automatic credit card billing is a common way to conduct business transactions in many countries, they are not necessarily the best way in some situations. In particular, there are many users of the internet that do not have access to a credit card. However, these users most likely have cellular telephone service. Also, use of a credit card is economically viable only if the transaction amount exceeds a particular amount that depends on the underlying efficiency of the billing and collecting system.
"Currently, cellular telephone carriers (or mobile phone carriers, the terms are used interchangeably throughout this specification) routinely bill users for small transactional amounts and are able to do so while making a profit. These transactions are referred to as micro-transactions and, in terms of U.S. currency, can be as small as a few pennies (additionally, larger transactions occur as well). Retailers or vendors may desire to provide their respective content or services to mobile phone users via the web or directly through the user's mobile phone, and bill for such content or services as micro-transactions. Currently, a retailer or vendor will find it very difficult to take advantage of this opportunity for micro-transaction billing for their content or services accessed by a mobile phone user because doing so would require the retailer/vendor to personally negotiate and reach a contractual agreement with the particular cellular carrier to which the mobile phone user is subscribed. The process is further complicated by the fact that not all consumers use the same cellular carrier and, therefore, the retailer/vendor would need to contract with hundreds of different cellular carriers around the globe to be able to have this billing option available to the desired global market of mobile phone users.
"Thus, there exists a need for a system and method that allows retailers to easily conduct transactions, many of which may be micro-transactions, with the global market of mobile phone users, where the transactions are easily billable to a wide variety of cellular carriers while eliminating the need for each retailer/vendor to individually contract with each of the wide variety of cellular carriers. In addition, it is desirable to provide a support system for retailers to develop network-enabled applications that are a dynamic and community-based for access and use by mobile phone users. Also, it is desirable to provide a method and/or system to allow a third party to offer their content and information, e.g., music-related content and information, for purchase and use by users of the community platform without requiring the third party to design, develop and implement a network-enabled application, whereby music content is paid for without requiring a user's credit card or financial information.
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